OUT MetroWest is hosting a focus group to identify the needs of gender expansive children and their families. The local nonprofit organization currently offers programs for LGBTQ youth in grades 6 through 12, and the organization is gathering input to inform future programming for children in preschool through grade 5. The focus group will be held on Tuesday, July 23 at the Newton Free Library, 330 Homer Street, from 7-8:30 p.m.

The focus group will provide a chance for parents and guardians to offer feedback on the issues facing their children and families. OUT MetroWest staff will facilitate the conversation, which is intended for adults raising gender expansive children. Gender expansive children, who are sometimes referred to as gender non-conforming, include those who are transgender and those whose gendered behaviors or appearance simply fall outside of typical societal expectations.

Julie Blazar, OUT MetroWest’s director of communications and outreach, explains, “We hear frequently from families seeking resources for their preschool and elementary school-aged children. Some of these children will grow up to be transgender and others won’t, and they all need happy, safe places to be themselves when they’re young. Thanks to a grant from the Foundation for MetroWest’s Youth in Philanthropy program, we’re excited to begin addressing this need.”

The July 23 focus group will be held in the library’s Druker Auditorium, and an RSVP is not required. The event is free of charge, and refreshments will be served. OUT MetroWest intends to host a second focus group in the fall for families unable to attend this month’s event.

OUT MetroWest runs four programs for LGBTQ middle and high school youth, totaling more than a dozen meetings each month. Meetings are educational, social, and supportive and are held in Framingham, Newton, and Wellesley. The organization also provides workshops in the community to enhance understanding of gender identity and sexual orientation.

For more information about OUT MetroWest, see www.outmetrowest.org or call 508-875-2122.